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I know very little about what Hindus believe about the existence of different lokas (worlds). For example:

  • Par Loka (heaven)
  • Paathal Loka (underworld)
  • Bhu Loka (Earth)

I want to know, - Exactly how many lokas (or worlds) are there? - Who lives there?

I just know that we people live on Bhuloka (Earth).

I heard once there are 54 lokas but I don't know anything about them.

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  • Indra lok should be the fourth world I think.
    – Mr_Green
    Jun 19 '14 at 12:36
  • Indra Lok is a part of what you think is par lok... Jun 19 '14 at 12:48
  • 2
    This is too vague a question because "loka" in sanskrit just means "a location" (and, by extension, "locals"). Your home could also be called "greenloka" and people would understand. Typically, planets or planetary systems are called "lokas". There are also infinite Vishnulokas=Vaikunthalokas outside the material universe. Jun 20 '14 at 0:35
  • @user3603546 I don't know what exactly it is known as that is why I mentioned as "Worlds" in brackets. feel free to edit it with what exactly the word "world" is known as in Hindi/Sanskrit.
    – Mr_Green
    Jun 20 '14 at 5:20
  • Found a link about lokas
    – Mr_Green
    Jun 30 '14 at 7:11
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Besides just listing 14 Lokas, I think an answer describing bit about who lives in each Lokas would be useful. Though one answer is already there but it is unsourced. So, I am here posting an answer with references:

Sources I do have: Recently while reading Vyasabhashya on Yogasutras of Patanjali, I have found that in his commentary on Yog Sutra 3.26, Vyasa described 7 Khanda of Prithivi and 14 Lokas in detail. I wanted to cite Shastra than commentary so, needed to refer Puranas. I have only Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana unabridged to refer.

Urdhva Lokas:

Urdhva Lokas (7 Lokas above Prithivi) are described in Vishnu Purana 2.7

2.7.1 Maitreya said-The sphere of the whole earth has been described to me by you, excellent Brahmana, and I am now desirous to hear an account of the other spheres above the world, the Bhuvar-loka and the rest, and the situation and the dimensions of the celestial luminaries.

I'm quoting a text from commentary of Vyasa. Vyasa's text is good in classifying these 7 Lokas and in describing who lives on them. Vishnu Purana should be refereed to learn the time and space aspect of these Lokas.

  • According to Vyasa Bhashya:

    The Patanjala Yoga Sutra With Vyasa Commentary, page no. 126 (on Sutra 3.26):

    Its (of the universe) expansion covers seven regions. There the region begin ning from hell upto the back of the Meru, is the Bhūh-Loka.

    The aerial region, beginning from the back of the Meru upto the pole-star and decorated with planets, asterisms and stars, is the Antariksha (or the Bhuvah Loka).

    Above that, the divine region is five-fold. The region of Mahendra is the third ;

    the fourth is the Mahar loka belonging to the Creator.

    The region of Brahmā is three-fold ; these are as follows:- The Jana loka, the Tapa loka and the Satya loka.

    "The region of Brahmā is concerned with three regions, then comes the Maharloka of the Creator; the region of Mahendra is called the Svah and in the sky are the stars; on the earth are the creatures”

    enter image description here

    • Who lives in Svara Loka (Mahendra Loka):

    The inhabitants of the Mahendra-loka are the divine beings of six classes only, the Tridaśas, the Agnisvättas, the Yāmas, and the Tuşitas, the Aparinirmita-vaśavartinas and the Parinirmita-vaśavartinas. They all are possessed of the perfection of the will power and have the attainments known as Animā, etc. They have their life-periods of one Kalpa (creation) and are very beautiful.

    • Who lives on Mahar Loka: (Prajapatis)

    In the Maharloka, the region of the Creator , live the divine beings of five descriptions,- the Kumudas, the Rbhus, the Pratardanas, the Ancanābhas and the Pracitrābhas. They all have the mastery over the gross elements. They live upon meditation and they have the life-period of one thousand kalpas.

    • Who lives on Jana Loka:

    In the Jana loka, the first region of Brahmā, live four kinds of divine beings, the Brahma-purohitas, the Brahma-kāyikas the Brahma-mahākāyikas and the Amaras, They have mastery over the elements and the senses. Each of these classes has the life-period twice that of the precedir ones.

    • Who lives on Tapa Loka:

    In the Tapa loka, the second region of Brahmā, live three kinds of divine beings,-the Abhāsvaras, the Mahābhāvaras and the Satya-mahā-bhāsvaras. They have mastery over the elements, the senses and the creative causes. Each of these classes has the life-period twice that of the preceding ones and they all live upon meditation.

    • Who lives on Satya Loka:

    In the Satya-loka, the third region of Brahmā, live four kinds of divine beings, the Acyutas, the Suddhanivāsas, the Satyābhas and the San jnā-sanjninas. They live in the unbuilt existence and are established in themselves. Each of these classes is placed one above the other. They have mastery over the Pradhāna and have the life-period until the end of the creation.

    According to Vyasa, "These all are seven regions including the regions of Brahmā. The Videhas and the Prakṣitilayas however stand in the rank of liberation ; therefore they are not placed in the regions."

    Beneath them are the seven Pātālas (nether lands) such as a Mahātala, Rasā. tala, Atala, Sutala, Vitala, Talātala and Pātāla.

    • Who lives in these Patalas?

    There in the nether lands, in the oceans and in these mountains, live the semi-divine beings namely the Asuras, the the Yakşas, the Rākşasas, the Bhūtas, the Pretas, the Pisacas, the Apasmärakas, the Assaras, the Brahma-rākşasas, the Kuş. māndas and the Vināyakas. In all these islands live the virtuous men and gods. The Sumeru is the gas. dening land of the gods; there the Miśra vana, the Nandana, the Caitra-ratha and the Sumānasa are the gardens. Sudharma is the council of the gods ; the Sudarśana is the city and Vaijayanta the palace.

    You can listen Audio book of original Sanskrit Vyasa Bhashya if you know bit of Sanskrit.


  • Description of Urdhva Lokas according to Vishnu Purana:

    Parasara said—The sphere of the earth (or Bhu-loka), comprehending its oceans, mountains, and rivers, extends as far as it is illuminated by the rays of the sun and moon, and to the same extent, both in diameter and circumference, the sphere of the sky (Bhuvar- loka) spreads above it (as far upwards as to the planetary sphere, or Svar-loka).'

    Above the Svara Loka, there are planets, above these planates, there are Shaptarshis (shepere of seven Rishis) and above the Saptarshis there is DhurvaLoka

    Above Dhruva, at the distance of ten million leagues, lies the sphere of saints, or Mahar-loka, the inhabitants of which dwell in it throughout a Kalpa, or day of BrahmA.

    At twice that distance is situated Jana-loka, where Sanandana and other pure-minded sons of Brahma reside.

    At four times the distance, between the two last, lies the Tapo-loka (the sphere of penance), inhabited by the deities called Vaibhrajas, who are unconsumable by fire.

    At six times the distance (or twelve Crores, a hundred and twenty millions of leagues) is situated Satya-loka, the sphere of truth, the inhabitants of which never again know death.


So, we see that 7 Urdhva Lokas are well described by Vyasa in his commentary and also in Vishnu Purana. But 7 Patala Lokas are not described in detail. They are described comprehensively in Bhagavata Purana.

7 Lokas below Prithivi:

enter image description here

So, Quoting from Bhagavata Purana 5.24:

  • Who lives in Atala

    Text 16: My dear King, now I shall describe to you the lower planetary systems, one by one, beginning from Atala. In Atala there is a demon, the son of Maya Dānava named Bala, who created ninety-six kinds of mystic power...

  • Who lives in Vitala

    Text 17: The next planet below Atala is Vitala, wherein Lord Śiva, who is known as the master of gold mines, lives with his personal associates, the ghosts and similar living entities...

  • Who lives in Sutala:

    Text 18: Below the planet Vitala is another planet, known as Sutala, where the great son of Mahārāja Virocana, Bali Mahārāja, who is celebrated as the most pious king, resides even now...

  • Who lives in Talatala:

    Text 28: Beneath the planet known as Sutala is another planet, called Talātala, which is ruled by the Dānava demon named Maya...

  • Who lives in Mahatala:

    Text 29: The planetary system below Talātala is known as Mahātala. It is the abode of many-hooded snakes, descendants of Kadrū, who are always very angry. The great snakes who are prominent are Kuhaka, Takṣaka, Kāliya and Suṣeṇa...

  • Who lives is Rasatala:

    Text 30: Beneath Mahātala is the planetary system known as Rasātala, which is the abode of the demoniac sons of Diti and Danu. They are called Paṇis, Nivāta-kavacas, Kāleyas and Hiraṇya-puravāsīs [those living in Hiraṇya-pura]...

  • Who lives in Patala:

    Text 31: Beneath Rasātala is another planetary system, known as Pātāla or Nāgaloka, where there are many demoniac serpents, the masters of Nāgaloka, such as Śaṅkha, Kulika, Mahāśaṅkha, Śveta, Dhanañjaya, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Śaṅkhacūḍa, Kambala, Aśvatara and Devadatta. The chief among them is Vāsuki...


Similar information regarding 14 Lokas can be found from other Puranas.

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  • I wonder what happens to satya loka when mahapralay happens.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Apr 3 '20 at 14:19
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Following is a list of lokas:

Satya-loka

Tapa-loka

Jana-loka

Mahar-loka

Svarga-loka (the indra lok)

Bhuvar-loka

Bhu-loka (where we live)

Atala-loka

Vitala-loka

Sutala-loka

Talatala-loka

Mahatala-loka

Rasatala-loka

Patala-loka (where dwell the snakes)

Yama-loka (where the evil get punishment for sins)

I don't think there could be 54 lokas. These are all of them.

Most of them are where a soul or living being goes (if they are not reborn) after death on the basis of their karma.

We live on Bhu-lok (our dear dear Earth).

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    The locas you described are where we born again (reincarnated) according to our good or bad karma. When the karma fal (result) is finished. We born again in earth. These lokas are still in the material world and not end of the journey. the word human should be replaced with living beings or soul. human body is just a meat suit or a chance we get to re unite with Krishna (god) after full submission as his servant.
    – Sisir
    Jun 19 '14 at 13:15
  • @AwalGarg, I am saying 54, because I had read it somewhere long back ago. as Hindu Numerical system sums any sacred/holy number to 9 i.e 5 + 4 = 9. I would have believed you if atleast the sum of the digits would have been 9.
    – Mr_Green
    Jun 19 '14 at 18:05
  • @AwalGarg Is Yama-lok for punishment (ie. kinda like Christian Hell)? I thought Yama-lok was just the home of Yama-dev (and Chitragupta etc) and the paap-punya (sin-unsin(??)) account only came up for re-incarnation?
    – Shisa
    Jun 20 '14 at 1:26
  • @Shisa Yes. Yama lok is where Yama dev lives. Punishments for sin are offered there. Jun 20 '14 at 7:21
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    And dhyuloka and Goloka?
    – prem30488
    May 23 '16 at 11:29

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